Waders are vital parts of your fly fishing toolkit. Without them, it’s pretty hard to get out into the water to cast for fish! On the surface, it might seem like any set of waders would be just fine, but that’s not true. You need durability, resilience, and comfort in addition to waterproof protection. Other important factors to consider when shopping for fly fishing waders are the color, the height, the ability to carry other items easily, and whether they come with rubber boots or not. We’ve done all the research for you and combed the marketplace to find the very best fly fishing waders for you. Below, you’ll find a head-to-head comparison chart highlighting the key features of each set of fly fishing waders, and then we’ll dive into an in-depth review of each pair so you can make an informed decision.
The Best Fly Fishing Waders
|OXYVAN Waders||Yes||1 inner pocket||2 layer||H||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
Piscifun Breathable Chest Waders
|No (includes booties)||3 exterior pockets, plus hook keeper||3 layer||X||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
|Foxelli Neoprene Waders||Yes||3 exterior pockets, 1 inner pocket||1 (4mm-thick neoprene with reinforced knees)||H||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
|Dark Lightning Fly Fishing Waders||Yes||1 exterior||2 layer||H||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
|Caddis Men’s Stocking Foot Waders||No||3 exterior (including hand warmer pockets)||2 layer||Y||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
|Foxelli Nylon Chest Waders||Yes||1 exterior||1 (420D nylon)||H||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
|TideWe Breathable Waders|
No (includes booties)
|3 exterior||3 layer||X||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
|Redington PALIX RIVER Waders|
No (includes booties)
|1 exterior||3 layer||X||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
Frogg Toggs Hellbender Stockingfoot Guide Pants
|No (includes booties)||0||4 layer||N/A||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
|Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Chest Waders|
No (includes booties)
|4 layer||Y||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
Durable and offering full protection this pair of fly fishing waders comes all the way up to the chest. They feature H-pattern shoulder straps, along with quick-release buckles to help ensure that you can easily get into and out of the waders. There is an easy-lock buckle that cinches around the waist, as well.
While they might only be two-ply, they combine 70D nylon and PVC for full waterproofing protection. These waders are also designed to be among the lightest options on the market, weighing up to 35% less than other models. That makes it easier to move in, but also reduces the weight in your luggage. All the seams are heat welded, as well, providing complete protection and peace of mind while you’re in mid-stream.
The PVC wading boots are completely waterproof, as well. They also feature a thickened sole to protect against rocks and other dangers in the stream bottom. The tread is aggressive, and the wading boots are also side-cleated for secure footing in just about any situation. While these fly fishing waders don’t offer any external pockets, there is an internal pocket with a hook and loop closure to ensure that you can keep your items dry and protected.
Piscifun Breathable Chest Waders
These fly fishing waders offer the best of all worlds. The X-pattern shoulder straps are less likely to come loose, and they secure with quick-release buckles for easy release. They also feature three layers of material, helping to protect against the cold of mountain streams while also providing plenty of comfort. While these waders don’t come with full wading boots, they do come with booties, which are designed to be snug and to stay dry in all situations.
These fly fishing waders offer multiple exterior pockets so that you can carry what you want, where you want. You’ll find a single large central pocket with a zippered closure, as well as hand warmer pockets. The hook keeper is a handy addition that is unique to these waders and not found on other options on our list. It’s also removable, so if you’ll be using these waders for something other than fly fishing, you can stow the keeper away.
Unlike some other waders on the market, this pair comes with an elastic waist belt. That allows you to easily get a perfect fit. The buckle is also designed to release quickly, helping you get into and out of the waders in record time. You’ll also find that this pair of waders comes with a full year warranty, ensuring peace of mind.
Foxelli Neoprene Waders
These neoprene waders from Foxelli offer robust protection from even the coldest waters. They’re made from the same fabric as diving suits and measure a full 4mm in thickness. The super thick H-style shoulder straps are easy to secure, and the quick-release buckles make getting in and out a snap. You’ll also find that the shoulder straps use elastic in the construction for a better fit and more comfort. The seams are stitched and then glued for additional protection and waterproofing, too.
There is a single inner pocket here, along with a sealable central exterior pocket and a pass-through hand warmer pocket. The belt is adjustable, and it includes two carabiners, making it a snap to carry other gear with you without any additional encumbrance. The cargo-carrying capabilities alone make these waders well-suited for multiple purposes, from fly fishing to duck hunting and even farm use.
Unlike some of the other fly fishing waders on our list, this pair includes the wading boots. They’re made from ultra-durable PVC and designed to be rugged enough to handle almost any environment. The sole is flexible, yet features aggressive tread to help you keep traction in mud and other surfaces.
Dark Lightning Fly Fishing Waders
Designed to fit men and women, these Dark Lightning fly fishing waders are full chest-height and offer plenty of usability and durability. You can choose from brown or green to suit your needs, but they both come with a wide range of features that help them rank on our list of the best fly fishing waders. One of those is the thick shoulder straps – because of their width, they don’t dig into your shoulders, and they’re more comfortable than some other brands out there.
You’ll find the same material here on other models on our list of the best fly fishing waders. They’re made from nylon reinforced with PVC to create a two-ply, waterproof set of waders. It’s also 35% lighter than other material options. They are comfortable and thick, and most users find that they’re reasonably well insulated against cold water, although some may want additional protection.
Like the shoulder straps, the waist belt is thicker than many competing models. The buckle is designed for quick release and a secure hold, too. All the seams are double-stitched and then glued to help reduce the chance of leaks. Note that the manufacturer recommends ordering one size larger than your norm if you intend to wear thick socks or if you require a wide-width shoe.
Caddis Men’s Stockingfoot Waders
Looking for some of the best fly fishing waders on the market? Consider this pair from Caddis. Comfortable, durable, and designed for hard use, it will go the distance whether you’re fishing, hunting, or using the waders on the farm.
In terms of storage, you’ll find a single exterior pocket with a zipper closure, as well as a pass-through hand warmer pocket. The waist belt is comfortable and can be used to attach other items, increasing your ability to carry things with you. The shoulder straps are the same width as the belt, and both straps and belt feature quick-release buckles. The shoulder straps also have a D-ring so you can expand your carrying capacity even more. Note that the waist belt can be removed for additional comfort if necessary.
While this pair of fly fishing waders doesn’t come with boots, it does come with booties that make it simpler to keep your feet dry with other boots. However, note that you should follow the manufacturer’s sizing chart when ordering, as the stockingfoot waders may not be the same size as what you usually wear. Some customers have reported that they tend to run large.
Foxelli Nylon Chest Waders
The second pair of waders from Foxelli, these offer the durability of nylon instead of the protection of neoprene. However, they do share many of the characteristics of the other pair, including their durability and waterproofing. They’re also booted, so you don’t have to buy any additional footwear.
Designed to be up to 35% lighter than other waders, these use PVC for the boot material, instead of heavy rubber. However, that doesn’t mean you trade weight for durability. They’re super strong, and the tread is aggressive enough for almost any surface. The knees are also designed for heavier use, and feature double-layers and additional stitching for strength and resilience.
These fly fishing waders feature thick shoulder straps in an H-pattern with quick-release buckles. The waist belt is the same width and features the same extra-large buckle for ease of use. You’ll find a single large chest pocket with a zippered closure that allows you to carry additional items with you. There’s also an interior pocket for waterproof storage. Note that the chest has a pull string closure that allows you to add a little more protection and comfort. These waders also come with a full one-year warranty for additional peace of mind.
TideWe Breathable Waders
The TideWe Breathable Fly Fishing Waders are designed for the discerning angler. They feature a unique minimalist design, combined with top of the line material. The result is a pair of waders that will go the distance time after time, and the three-ply material ensures comfort, protection, and lots of value.
The shoulder straps feature an X-pattern for better security. They also have quick-release buckles for easier use. The waist belt is secured through belt loops built into the waders, too. Each belt features elastic in the material so that it will stretch to give the most comfortable fit possible. You’ll find that the knees are reinforced to withstand heavier use, and there are three zippered pockets on the chest, allowing you to carry more with you.
The waders themselves are made from breathable polyester, but the unique design ensures that water cannot get in. They are 100% waterproof. The ankles close tightly over the included booties (no boots with this pair of waders). You’ll also appreciate the built-in gravel guards that help ensure protection during use.
Note that this pair of waders comes with a one-year warranty. There is also a free leak repair offer during the first year of ownership, all designed to make your experience as worry-free as possible.
Redington PALIX RIVER Waders
Looking for a pair of minimalist fly fishing waders? The PALIX RIVER waders from Redington might be exactly what you want. You’ll find a slimline design without a lot of extra frills, but plenty of durability to ensure a long use life. Of course, they are also completely waterproof, too.
These fly fishing waders feature three-ply construction for durability and protection. They’re also made from 100% polyester, coated with DWR for additional waterproofing and wear resistance. They also feature opposing buckles, which makes it simple to convert these into waist-high pants, rather than full waders.
The Y-pattern suspenders are easy to get on and off, thanks to the quick-release buckles. The waist belt features the same buckle and is secured to the body with belt loops, rather than being simply tightened down over the top. Of course, it can be removed completely if you need to do so for comfort.
You’ll find a single zippered chest pocket here. However, it includes a flip-out pocket for additional storage capabilities. While these do not come with boots, they do include booties and are designed to keep your feet warm and dry. The booties are made from neoprene rather than nylon, as well. Gravel guards are integrated directly into the waders, too.
Frogg Toggs Hellbender Stockingfoot Guide Pants
Love fly fishing, but don’t need a full set of chest waders? If that sounds like you, then the Frogg Toggs Hellbender Stockingfoot Guide Pants might be exactly what you want. They feature four layers of protection, all made from durable nylon. They also feature an adjustable belt with a locking quick release buckle to make it easier to get into and out of the pants.
The secret to performance and protection here is the outermost layer of DriPore Gen 2 material. That’s laid over the top of two layers of polyester, resulting in a super-dry pair of waders that will stand up to almost anything you can throw at them. The innermost layer also features tricot fabric designed to help keep you cool and comfortable.
Like many other options on our list of the best fly fishing waders, this pair of pants lacks boots. However, it does include neoprene booties, which will work with your choice of boots, while adding insulation and protection against water and cold temperatures. The one drawback here is that these pants only include hand warmer pockets and a single horizontal pocket, so you’ll have a limited carrying capacity. Saying that, the belt does come with daisy chain capabilities for just that reason.
Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Chest Waders
Building on the capabilities of the Frogg Togg Hellbender pants, we have the Frogg Togg Canyon II Chest Waders. These feature plenty of protection and deliver lots of capabilities, which makes them a contender on our best-of list. Whether you’re heading out for some fly fishing, or you’re going to be hunting, these waders make a great choice.
The Y-back suspenders are adjustable so you can get the perfect fit. They also offer a bit more security than H-back suspenders. There’s a large central zippered pocket on the exterior of the chest that features a flip-out inner pocket, too. The entire thing is made from 4 layer nylon, featuring the company’s unique DriPore Gen 2 outer layer for the ultimate in waterproofing. The innermost layer is designed to be soft and comfortable while wicking away heat.
The wading belt is adjustable to suit your needs, and can also be removed entirely if you want. The gravel guards are built right into the pants and include integral lace hooks, and the booties are made from neoprene for the best possible durability and waterproofing. They’re double taped to ensure complete security, as well. The chest features a built-in D ring so you can attach additional items easily.
Your Guide to Buying the Best Chest Waders
Now that we’ve wrapped up our reviews of the best chest waders on the market, we need to go through and highlight what you should look for when buying a pair. Because no two people will have exactly the same needs, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to what makes the best waders. Instead, you need to know more about the various components and considerations that go into making a pair of waders that are worth your money and time. In this section, we’ll delve into all that and more.
The Best Type of Wader
First, let’s talk about the type of wader you need. There are several different types on the market, and they’re not all the same. After all, waders are more than just rubber boots.
Your first instinct might be to purchase a pair of boot waders. These have the boots built right into the waders, meaning that you don’t need to spend money on a set of footwear specifically for wading. These provide an inarguably convenient all-in-one solution. With that being said, they do have some downsides, so they may not be the best waders for everyone.
First, because they include boots, they’re heavier than other types of waders. That may or may not be a deal-breaker for you, of course. However, you may also find that the boots don’t fit as well as you might think. These types of waders tend to offer an average fit, which means that if you are tall but have shorter feet, or if you’re shorter but have longer feet, these might not be the right option. Finally, you’ll find that putting on booted waders can be challenging.
Most of the options on our list of the best fly fishing wader options were stocking-style and came with booties, not boots. These feature full chest waders (or pants in some cases), but rather than boots, they have neoprene booties that keep your feet warm and dry. The booties slide into your regular boots and help ensure a better fit, as well as more comfort. However, while they are lighter than booted waders, they can still be quite heavy. Some people also find the booties difficult to get on. They’re designed to be tight to ensure they fit in your boots and to keep water out.
Of course, stocking/bootie and booted waders are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. You’ll also need to determine if you want chest, waist, or hip waders.
Perhaps the most common type out there are chest waders. These are pretty self-explanatory. Most of the options on our best-of list are chest waders, too. They come up to the chest and offer plenty of protection for most of your body.
Waist High Waders
Waist waders look more like pants. They come up to just above the waist (slightly higher than where most casual pants reach). Because they do not come up as high, these can offer a better range of motion. However, they are not as protective and are generally useful only in shallower waters.
We didn’t cover hip waders in our best-of list, but you’ll find plenty of examples out there. These tend to cover just one leg each (they’re not pants) and attach to your belt to secure them in place. These are the shortest type of waders out there, and they’re really only useful in shallow streams.
The Best Material Types
In addition to the type of wader you choose, you also need to consider the material on offer. It will affect everything from freedom of movement to how waterproof your waders are.
Neoprene is the material of choice for several of the waders on our best-of list, but it’s also used heavily in feet/booties. Neoprene is the material that diving suits are made from, and it is thick, waterproof, and protective. However, because of this thickness, some people find neoprene waders more difficult to move in.
Many of the waders on our list featured multiple layers of nylon in their construction. Nylon is lightweight, durable, and can be waterproofed in a couple of different ways. It is not as insulative as neoprene, but it can be easier to move in, and you’ll also find that it’s lighter.
We only featured one pair of “breathable” waders on our best-of list, but it pays to understand what these do and how they differ from other options. Unlike neoprene waders, breathable waders have no stretch to them. They’re usually made from a combination of nylon and proprietary material. The outermost layer is waterproof, and the inner layer is breathable. Breathable waders are designed to help wick away sweat from your body, which keeps you dry and comfortable.
High-quality fly fish waders differ greatly from low-quality options, but it can be hard to tell the difference without getting up close and personal. So, we’ll provide some hallmarks to look for from high-quality options:
- Extra Strong Seams: Look for waders that offer extra-strong seams to help prevent leaks. Usually, this means double stitching and welding in high-quality products.
- Fabric Thickness: While thicker fabric is heavier, it is also harder to tear on branches, brush, and other obstacles. You’ll need to find a happy medium between durability and weight.
- Material: Look for waders that feature multiple plies of material for better durability. Thicker fabric is usually higher quality, too. Thinner fabric is usually a sign of low-quality waders.
- Price: You usually get what you pay for when it comes to a wader for fly fishing. While you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune on a pair of waders, avoid anything that sounds too good to be true. It usually is. That almost immediately cuts out those big-box stores, which usually sell inferior quality products.
It’s Time to Go Fishing!
With the information above, you should be ready to buy the best fly fishing wader choices for you and head out. Whether you’re going for your favorite trout stream or prefer surf fishing, want to try out a new river, or simply need something that’s going to help keep you dry while you’re out in the brush, you should be able to find the right option for your needs. Grab your rod and reel and let’s go fishing!